Tag Archives: Idlewild

Fatherson

My new favourite band – Fatherson

Fatherson

I like my Scottish rock.  Be it Biffy, Idlewild, Twin Atlantic, The Xcerts, Frightened Rabbit, Lightguides, So Many Animal Calls, The King Hats, Marvel Heights, Carnivores, Make Sparks….just shut the fuck up and take my money.

There’s been a new band on the horizon for a couple of years that started to maybe, possibly blow everyone of these out of the water.  Chances are if you live in the South West of England, you might not have heard Fatherson before…..well if that’s the case, get your ears around this little lot.

You’re welcome!

You can get a free download of their last single ‘Mine For Me’ Here

Their self financed début album ‘I Am An Island’ is out on the 7th of April.  There will be a review forthcoming in the next few weeks, but if you like what you hear, you can buy a compilation of all their EP’s right now by heading here:  https://fathersonuk.bandcamp.com/album/fatherson-ep-bundle

Roddy Woomble - Listen To Keep cover

Roddy Woomble – Listen To Keep (Reveal)

Roddy Woomble - Listen To Keep cover

Roddy Woomble returns with his 3rd solo effort ‘Listen To Keep‘ which will be released via Reveal Records on the 4th of March.

The overall composition of the album benefits from a settled line up, as opposed to the revolving door of musicians that made up 2011′s The Impossible Song.  The line up is a reflection of his touring crew of Sorren Maclean (Guitar), Seonaid Aitken (Violin, Keys), Gavin Fox (Bass) and the addition of drummer Danny Grant.

Listen to Keep is a confident affair throughout, and comes across completely as a group of musicians comfortable with each other and playing to the best of their abilities.

Idlewild are one of my favourite ever bands, and Roddy’s solo recordings maintain a prominent place in my regular listening, but I’ve sometimes found opening salvos of any new material fairly heavy going.  Often this is the best way though as you’re paid back for your investment in the time it takes to gain a level of familiarity with the work.  Woomble appears to be the master of this, knowing one way or another you’ll come round to his way of thinking, even if it does take a bit of time.  I found this new album one of the more accessible offerings of anything he has done in recent times.

The album has a really nice variation, from the laid back pensive tunes like ‘Making Myths’ and ‘Listen To Keep’ you’ll suddenly have your lethargic chair kicked from under you with outright toe tappers like ‘The Last One of my Kind‘ and ‘Trouble Your Door’.  The ever blossoming writing relationship between Woomble and Maclean is undoubtedly a great new partnership in Scottish music and hopefully one that sticks around in some form for year to come.

There is an underlying theme in the album, with Woomble revisiting the idea of luck on multiple occasions.  I’m no expert but I’d say that certainly Idlewild suffered from bad luck to a certain extent.  For a band of that talent with the wealth of superb material they had to call upon, commercially at least they weren’t as successful as they deserved.  Woomble may be dwelling on this, and he’d have good reason to think he didn’t have the luck he deserved.

The recording sounds more like a band than any of Woomble’s previous solo outing, with the closeness of relationships and group of people attain when out on tour, this is hardly any surprise, and the material sounds all the better for it.  My only criticism is that at times I found myself wanting the recorded versions of the songs to mirror the warmth of the live performance  but in some tracks I was left feeling that it was lacking…a guitar part too quiet or backing vocals almost inaudible, that when played live had made the song shine.

One thing you can’t deny is the quality of Woomble’s voice, now shed of angst it has taken on a wiser, more mature tone that you can’t help but drift away in your own thoughts while listening to it.

Buy the album direct from Reveal using the links below.

CD: http://www.reveal-store.com/product.php?id=311&categoryid=23 shipping NOW!

Vinyl: http://www.reveal-store.com/product.php?id=314&categoryid=23

Roddy Woomble - Listen To Keep cover art

french-wives-dream-of-the-inbetween-album-artwork

Album Review: French Wives – Dream of the Inbetween (Electric Honey)

Usually when being sent albums to review you have a week (if you’re lucky) on the general release.  This doesn’t give much time to get to grips with what you’re reviewing, which leads to sometimes your true opinion (good or bad) being forsaken for publishing ahead or on the day of release.  Happily this current album ‘Dream Of The Inbetween’ by Scottish indie darlings French Wives was sent to me a full 3 months before its scheduled release on the 7th of May.  I’m publishing this review quite ahead of time purely for the reason I need to put it to bed so I can carry on with other releases I’ve been sent.  If I don’t get this one out of my system, there is a chance I will listen to nothing else for months.  Personally I’d be blissfully happy with that outcome, however in the interest of covering as many releases as I can it kind of holds one back.

French Wives, if you aren’t familiar with them are a five piece comprising of Stuart Dougan (vocals/guitars), Chris Barclay (bass/vocals), Siobhan Anderson (violin/vocals), Scott MacPherson (guitar/vocals) and Jonny Smith (drums/vocals) formed via mutual friends while at university.  Hailing from Scotland, they are another notch on the bedpost of amazing acts to emerge from north of the border.  Despite concentrating on building their fan base locally they have amassed a number of noteworthy support slots since their 2008 inception (Bombay Bicycle Club, The Mystery Jets and Two Door Cinema Club to name but a few).  Their label Electric Honey is responsible for past releases of Scottish luminaries like Biffy Clyro, Belle & Sebastien and Snow Patrol, certainly good company to keep.

On to the album ‘Dream of the Inbetween’ first impressions are pleasing, the opening tracks ‘Modern Columns’ and recent single ‘Numbers’ have an instant appeal, very easy to listen.  Vocalist Stuart Dougan has a lovely warmth about his voice, a heady mix of Elbow’s Guy Garvey and Editors Tom Smith.  Musically it’s very anthemic, huge choruses and tight rhythms are cleverly woven with that new folk/rock combo that Idlewild were so successful with on ‘Post Electric Blues’ courtesy of some lovely Fiddle work by Siobhan Anderson.

Once you start clocking up the miles with this album the more subtle tracks start to dominate.  There’s the beautiful semi-title track ‘The Inbetween’ is something akin to Coldplay’s ‘Parachutes’ very short, very beautiful and leaves you wanting that song or melody to be expanded into a full song.  Where Coldplay didn’t capitalise on this, French Wives pull no punches reprising the mantra like lyrics of ‘The Inbetween’ in the stand out track on the album ‘Younger’.  What this shows me is that although the album is a collection of wonderful individual songs, it was written as an album and has a wonderful flow as a result, something not achieved by many bands.

Although not really breaking any new ground with ‘Dream of the Inbetween’ what French Wives have done is take their time to produce the album.  They’ve obviously drawn on their influences, but have completely raised the bar.  This is stellar stuff and if there is any justice in this business, this album will sell by the bucket load.  I look at what Elbow are doing and they are incredible successful, albeit they manage to produce 1 or 2 good songs per album that get stunning amounts of radio time, this is a gem from start to finish.  It’s well polished without being over done, it’s inventive with wonderful melodies and great lyrics, it has choruses galore that will be no doubt bellowed back at the band at gigs all over the land this year.

Quite possibly the best album this year, if not this decade.  It’s a keeper that I can now settle down and just bask in the beauty of rather than critique.  Something this good merits worldwide attention, a band like this just needs a bit of luck now and to be backed by the right people on the radio….Zane Lowe I’m looking at you pal!

Rating: 10/10

Tracks:
1. Modern Columns
2. Numbers
3. Back Breaker
4. The Inbetween
5. Me vs. Me
6. Sleep Tight
7. Halloween
8. Month of Sundays
9. Younger
10. The Sickness

Released: 7th May 2012

Label: Electric Honey

Format: CD / Download

For fans of: Elbow, Snow Patrol, Editors, Idlewild

French Wives on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frenchwives
Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/frenchwives
Official: http://frenchwives.co.uk/

Get a free copy of one of the best songs ever ‘Younger’ here: http://frenchwives.bandcamp.com/album/younger-single

 

The King Hats - First Light EP cover

EP Review: The King Hats – First Light (Mantelpiece Recordings)

I came across The King Hats while searching associated artists of bands like Twin Atlantic, Lightguides etc.  I’m rather glad I did.  While most bands in Scotland seem to (quite rightly) taking their cue from bands like Biffy Clyro, these boys are producing raw indie rock that’s more reminiscent of Idlewild when they first burst onto the scene with Captain and Hope Is Important.

Recorded in the band’s flat, that low-fi sound really rings though and suits the style of music they are trying to create down to a tee.  A combination of sharp lyrics, killer hooks and driving rhythms fuel the majority of tracks with the relentless pace only dropping occasionally.

‘Victoria’s Secret’, the first track on the EP is absolutely HUGE, it cleverly draws the listener in to a false sense of security with its relatively softly paced opening intro and first verse before it all kicks off.  The track is a beautiful mix of this suppressed melodic verse and full on indie punk during the mantra like choruses.  It’ll only take a few listens before you’re screaming out “YOU MEAN THE WORLD TO ME”.

The pace is kept up with ‘I Smell A Rat’, again a great contrast with the frantic guitars and Lead Singer Alan Power’s almost lackadaisical vocals which get more energetic as the track evolves.

‘Happy New Year’ relates an incident that happened to Power the night before New Year, when he was found naked on the bathroom floor by his (then) girlfriend after passing out from over indulgence.  The song is an homage to her for saving his life.

‘It Feels Like I’m Falling’ has a wonderful pace to it, and starts off with a brief respite from the previous songs onslaught….it doesn’t last long though before we’re off again.  As with the first track it’s a great mixed bag of subdued bubbling under verse to stomp on the overdrive pedal and hang your balls out loud chorus.

Slightly more downbeat than the previous tracks on the EP but with no less vitriol.  Full of angst, crashing drums and slamming guitars this is how to close your debut EP.

And that’s it……oh wait, not it’s not.  If you buy the CD version of the EP you will be treated to 2 more tracks.  ‘Brand New’ and ‘Time in Japan’.  I’m going to keep my thoughts on these a secret, to hopefully encourage you to go and buy it :)

Rating: 9/10
Best Track: It Feels Like I’m Falling
For Fans of: Idlewild, Reuben, The Xcerts, (early) Green Day

Tracklist:

1. Victoria’s Secret
2. I Smell A Rat
3. Happy New Year
4. It Feels Like I’m Falling
5. 6/8
6. Brand New*
7. Time In Japan*
(*CD only bonus tracks)

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/thekinghats

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/thekinghats

Soundcloud: http://soundcloud.com/thekinghats

Buy the EP on CD: http://www.facebook.com/thekinghats?sk=app_150178545006427

Buy the EP Digitally: http://thekinghats.bandcamp.com/album/first-light

The Birthday Suit - The 11th Hour - Packshot

Album Review: Rod Jones (Idlewild) & The Birthday Suit – The Eleventh Hour

The Birthday Suit (Rod Jones from Idlewild) – The Eleventh Hour

After their last album Post Electric Blues and the subsequent touring that ensued, Idlewild, one of Scotland’s greatest exports went on hiatus.  Roddy Woomble once again dived into exploring his ever-growing passion for traditional folk music releasing The Impossible Song & Other Songs earlier this year.  The band’s chief riff maker Rod Jones has now also begun his own solo career.  Entitled The Birthday Suit, Jones has recaptured the raw energy of Idlewild’s earlier music in 100 Broken Windows and fragments of Hope Is Important.  With the bands trajectory heading into a more rock/folk fusion which with current interests almost impossible to stop, it is refreshing to see that the heart and soul of Jones is still rooted firmly in the world of that angsty rock driven sound.  There still remains that underlying nod to the traditional in certain tracks but as a whole this is a hark back to his early days, which is fine by us.

The album ‘The Eleventh Hour’ is officially released on 11/11/11 via Rod’s own Sing It Alone Records, but if you’re quick you can snap up an early bird digital copy for the bargain price of £5.00 on the bands official website http://www.thebirthdaysuit.co.uk/.  Comprised of 11 sumptuous tracks this will be the drug of choice for Idlewild fans across the world, and should go most of the way to softening the blow that our beloved Idlewild won’t be around for a while.

It kicks off with ‘Do You Ever?’ which has a dirty overdriven fuzzed up riff throughout, thoroughly low-fi.  ‘Hope Me Home’ has a great vibe to it reminiscent of ‘When I Argue I See Shapes’, great lyrics “I don’t need your help, just a little bit of hope to keep me whole”, with elements of the opening songs riffs thrown in to great effect.  The tempo is taken down a notch for ‘They Say I Love You’ which has elements of more recent Idlewild material in it.  The frantic drum intro for ‘On My Own’ see’s Jones sounding a tad like Brian Moloko and the whole track has a very strong Placebo feel to it.  In fact the whole album while obviously drawing off Idlewild seems to be paying homage to great late 90’s guitar indie rock. ‘Sell It All’ has an infectious clean riff that provides the platform for a really strong vocal from Jones.  ‘World Gone By’ could almost be a forgotten track off Post Electric Blues and embodies all that Idlewild have developed into complete with fiddle Jones makes this all feel totally organic though. ‘Are You Ok?’ is a great catchy upbeat number with a fantastic layered vocal which breaks out wonderfully after about a minute of the track.  ‘A Nation’ has all the trademark guitar hooks that Jones has become known for, strong driven intro, picked in-verse riff building wonderfully to a charged chorus.  ‘Don’t Look Down’ tips its hat to traditional Scottish rock with elements of the Pogues chucked in for good measure.  Title track ‘The Eleventh Hour’ follows and certainly doesn’t stand on ceremony, getting right down to business with lyrics like “It’s late in the day, the hours that remain only serving  to remind of where you were, it’s always too late to change your mind when all you see is all you held before” (don’t cuss me too much if I got that wrong) but it certainly looks like Rod was lamenting over his past but the rest of the song has an optimism of the future.  Closing with the beautiful ‘Talking Over You’ which has a lovely vocal by band mate Jacqueline Irvine to complement Jones’s tone.

In summary a cracking album that will delight fans of Idlewild, but it isn’t geared exclusively towards them by any stretch of the imagination.  It has all the get up and go of 100 Broken Windows, the album that launched Idlewild into the public eye, while keeping the sensibilities of later releases like Post Electric Blues.

Rating: 4/5
Best Track: Hope Me Home
For Fans Of: Idlewild (duh), Oasis, Placebo

Track List:

1. Do You Ever?

2. Hope Me Home

3. They Say I Love You

4. On My Own

5. Sell It All

6. World Gone By

7. Are You Ok?

8. A Nation

9. Don’t Look Down

10. The Eleventh Hour

11. Talking Over You

The Birthday Suit is:

Rod Jones (vocals, guitar, keys)
Jacqueline Irvine (backing vox and viola) also of Brave little note
Steve Morrison (drums)
David Jack (bass)
Catrin Pryce-Jones (Violin)
Steve McLaughlin (live guitarist, not on record)

 
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/#!/rodjonesandthebirthdaysuit